How I did a PhD with a broken brain

In 2015 I had a severe reaction to an antidepressant. Overnight I went from someone who had never experienced any physical anxiety symptoms to major panic attacks, agoraphobia, and constant general anxiety. I no longer had the capacity to do my PhD and took temporary withdrawal for a year where I had to learn how to function as a human being again. Upon returning to my PhD, a major achievement in itself, I realised the stress of even half an hour’s worth of work rendered me not only incapable of functioning for the rest of the day, but potentially the day after too. How was I supposed to do a PhD if I couldn’t even manage half an hour? If I was to complete my PhD, I needed to figure out how to work a stress-free day. Over the course of a couple of years I learnt and refined a routine that helped me to achieve this. It wasn’t much fun and I still struggle a lot of the time. I fall out of the routine and take shortcuts. I am human after all. But I sit here with a finished thesis and time to spare. This is how I did my PhD with a broken brain.

“Your English is so good”

By Maria Cohut

For many International PhD students the experience of living in another country is a positive one and one which they look forward to with excitement. However, some aspects of this experience may not be exactly how they expected, especially when they leave the ‘bubble’ of campus. In this post Maria, a former Warwick English Literature PhD student, reflects on some of her experiences and how she felt.

Isolation Station: Beating the Pandemic Blues as a Researcher

Maria Cohut

Ph.D. work can feel isolating at the best of times. With a pandemic going on, and having to stay put for safety, being a doctoral students can become an even lonelier experience. Maria shares some tips to help you regain a sense of community.

What strategies have worked to help you feel less isolated at this time? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

Why is Academia so damn SLOW?!

By Merle Van den Akker

Do you feel that you are staying behind when you compare yourself to your friends or colleagues who went into the commercial, business, or corporate world? Why do we feel that academia is so much slower than the market? Read more and find out!

If you have experienced this long process and have tips for dealing with it, tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

Online Conferences… the new normal?

By Lucia Collischonn

It seems that even if we get out of lockdown, social distancing measures will be around for a while. It makes it hard to plan anything, especially events that involve socialising and networking. And, to be honest, what are conferences? They are social events with an aim to present our research and exchange ideas and experiences with other researchers. Only there’s more to it than just that. In a time in which everything has been moved online, how will we cope with the new normal? Our editor shares her experience and her thoughts on Online Conferences.

And what about you, did you join an online conference, reading group, or any other online social event during this quarantine? What did you think? Can you imagine what that would be like? Let us know! Comment below, tweet us at @warwicklibrary or email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk!

And That’s OK

By Zakiyya Adam

Doing a PhD is demanding at the best of times, let alone amidst a global pandemic. Zakiyya discusses why productivity should not be the priority for PhDs right now.

What have you found to help you cope during the global pandemic? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

On dealing with Anxiety in a highly competitive environment (Part 2 – Confidence)

By Alice Cuzzucoli

One of the most challenging aspects we face in academia is how to measure our self-worth. On top of the constant amount of work we deal with, this further burden can make us feel like we are misinterpreting what we have to do to be “that exceptional”. So, when it comes to comparing ourselves to others, it is natural to feel inferior, or inadequate even. Ultimately, our confidence is what suffers from it, both from an individual and a collective point of view. In the second part of her series of essays, Alice discusses how her relationship with self-worth and competition affected her confidence during her PhD.

How do you deal with feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

How to Make Working From Home Work

Working from home or hardly working? Are you struggling to make it work while using the same space and the same screen for work, leisure, entertainment and socialising? Merle shares her tips on how to get the best out of this situation and create a good, productive mindset..

How to Maintain a Good Relationship with Your PhD Supervisor

Doing a PhD is an exciting thing. To make sure you stay on track, you have a supervisor supporting you through this minefield! And as helpful as they can be, navigating your relation to your supervisor can be a minefield on its own. Essentially, it’s a difficult relationship where it often isn’t clear what the exact guidelines are. And that can get confusing.

Fallow Fields, Seeds and Academic Gold Rush in the Corona crisis

Planting, harvesting and the stolen time of rest. Can farm life provide a metaphor for academic life? Is the current COVID-tunnel finally creating an occasion for rest and nourishment or did it leave many researchers in even more pressure to perform, in a new virtual world, having to pay the costly interests of time debt? Do you feel the need to find golden productivity before your peers? Our author reflects on the many challenges faced with planting and sowing, nourishing your land, a waiting for your crops to yield results, be it your plants or your ideas.